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Sounds of American History


In the Valley View, OH area, teachers and students are lending an ear to history. When we access historical information, we typically use our eyes to read or look at images, and our ears to listen to our teachers. Why not use our ears to access sounds which originate beyond the classroom—such as a documentary on industrialization and the environment, a lecture on African Americans in the Revolutionary War, a song by the Beatles, or a State of the Union address?

The Project

Goals for the ongoing (as of October 2009) project include exploration of multimedia; resource collection; oral history analysis skill building; applying technology to in-class teaching; and giving students a new, and newly fulfilling, way to "envision" the past.

At present, the project offers a blog which links to a wide variety of lectures and teaching resources, as well as a website, which has a number of short audio and video features located under Topics and Timeline. Note that not all of the headings within the Topics and Timeline sections currently contain links.

Think Loudly

Why not comb through the project's blog and clip library? You may just find supplemental material which will hold your students' attention. After all, broadcast sound is something of a novelty in the classroom setting. If the clip you select is just audio with no visual component; and you're worried that your students may drift off, consider asking them to fill out a worksheet, write a focused analysis, or summarize the clip in a series of quickly rendered drawings.